“Mull to Ulva” By Tobi Alfier

 

 

Mull to Ulva

Because the distance from land-shore to island
is a fingersnap in the constant of all time.

Because the tides bless fishermen and landlocked alike, full creels
the harvest here, no watery graves, no heartsong, no tears.

Because the store displays bait and boat, strong needles
for sewing the lace of fishing line, not delicate woman-lace.

Because the sun burns with savage brightness, much
as the evening stars will burn unwatched and un-wished upon.

Because the ghosts of old souls and older relics own
the dark, with nary a mortal light upon any land, sea or shore.

Because here, no one interprets the thousand pin-pricks
composing a symphony in the eggy blackness of night.

Because the fragrance of this summer conjures
memory after memory of all pasts and futures.

Because there is no caretaker, no guardian to aid thin fog
search the inlet for branch or crevice with which to gain purchase—

I wish to walk barefoot on old stone, become one with the earth and sea,
learn their secrets, raise my arms to the stars. Palm to palm, our hearts.

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(This poem was originally published in Down Anstruther Way)

 

About the Author: Tobi Alfier (Cogswell) is a multiple Pushcart nominee and multiple Best of the Net nominee.  Her chapbook “Down Anstruther Way” (Scotland poems) was published by FutureCycle Press. Her full-length collection “Somewhere, Anywhere, Doesn’t Matter Where” was published by Aldrich Press. “Slices of Alice & Other Character Studies” was just published by Cholla Needles Press. She is co-editor of San Pedro River Review (www.bluehorsepress.com).

 

More by Tobi Alfier:

Possession Sound, Whidbey Island, Washington

Cape Split

 

Image Credit: Peter Henry Emerson “Cantley: Wherries Waiting for the Turn of                  the Tide” Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program

 

 

 

The Ferry Captain

“Captain in the Rain at Cleggan Pier, Ireland.” By Jeffrey Alfier

 

The Ferry Captain

By Jeffrey Alfier

 

The Ferry Captain

He is the hull, diesel and waterline that mark him,
ligature of fists on the wheel. He is bow wave
and sting of spindrift, inlets sprawled with waterfowl,
tidewrack, a mind drawing tangent lines no one sees.
The wheelhouse is his tabernacle in the wilderness.
He’s a bulkhead’s argument with rust, a pennant’s
argument with gales. Spend enough of your life
at sea and you can tell windward from leeward
by the taste of wind alone. At a small remove,
just back of the helm, passengers serry against
north Atlantic cold, their voices clipped
by gusts keening through antenna wires.
Sheltered waters far astern, he is the rote cadence
of the deck crew’s footfalls. He won’t worry how late
he gets home, how long he’ll stand with his back
to the seawall, a phone ringing somewhere without
his answer, the sea a rhythm locked in his heart.

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(This poem originally appeared in The Storm Petrel: Poems of Ireland (Grayson Books, 2014)

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About the Author: Jeffrey Alfier is 2018 winner of the Angela Consolo Manckiewick Poetry Prize, from Lummox Press. In 2014 he won the Kithara Book Prize, judged by Dennis Maloney. Publication credits include Crab Orchard ReviewSouthern Poetry ReviewAtlanta Review, Copper NickelEmerson ReviewIron Horse Literary ReviewKestrelHotel AmerikaMidwest QuarterlyPoetry Ireland Review and South Carolina Review. He is author of The Wolf YearlingIdyll for a Vanishing RiverFugue for a Desert MountainAnthem for Pacific Avenue: California PoemsSouthbound Express to Bayhead: New Jersey PoemsThe Red Stag at Carrbridge: Scotland PoemsBleak Music – a photo and poetry collaboration with poet Larry D. Thomas and The Storm Petrel: Poems of Ireland. He is founder and co-editor at Blue Horse Press and San Pedro River Review. An Air Force veteran, he is a member of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.